BOULDER, Colo. – The battle for first place in the Big Ten Universities Conference between Indiana and Michigan was as thrilling as advertised. Although Michigan controlled several aspects of the game, it was Indiana that used a late rally to come away with a 19-17 victory.
A key matchup within the game was the play of both teams’ fly halves. Joel Conzelmann of Michigan and Indiana’s Teddy Terezis are both ideal field generals at the No. 10 position, and share blossoming skill sets. Conzelamann and Terezis are accurate with the boot, can force defenses onto their back foot with the ball in hand, and are both capable of putting teammates into space with flat, crisp passes.
In the early goings of the “midwest slobber-knocker,” as coined by Michigan Head Coach Brandon Sparks, it was Conzelmann whose talents were on display. Michigan’s captain lit the scoreboard first with a penalty goal in the eighth minute. Shortly after, Conzelmann converted Jared Bosma’s try to put the Wolverines up, 10-0.
Indiana would answer halfway through the opening half when prop Francis Cislak found the try zone and Terezis added the conversion.
Just five minutes later, it was Conzelmann again adding to Michigan’s lead. This time, Conzelmann took it upon himself to dot down beyond the goal line and added his conversion to push the Wolverines’ lead back to 10.
However, Terezis would get one more opportunity to split the uprights before half and he succeeded following Ben Dall’s try, and the two teams went to the break with a score of 17-14 in favor of Michigan.
Both sides made several substitutions during the second half, as neither team could produce much of an offensive attack within the other team’s half of the pitch. It wasn’t until the 73rd minute when experienced winger Jake Hidalgo was able to break free for his team-leading sixth try of the season. Hidalgo’s unconverted score would be the only points of the second half, as Indiana claimed the much-deserved win and sole possession of first place in the Big Ten Universities Conference.
Even with their undefeated record still intact, Indiana is unable to play for this year’s BTU Championship. The Hoosiers will be kept out of postseason play for the 2014-15 academic school year, including November’s BTU Conference Championship and the D1A Playoffs in the spring.
For Michigan, the loss puts the Wolverines in the midst of what is shaping up to be a three-team race for the top two spots in the Conference and a place in the Conference Championship match. The two clubs Michigan will attempt to fend off are Wisconsin and an Ohio State team, which rolled Purdue 38-12 to improve to 3-1 in BTU play.
This week, Wisconsin and Ohio State prepare for a match against one another in Madison, Wisc. The match should be a high-scoring affair, as the two squads represent the top-two scoring attacks in the Conference, and the result could leave the losing team on the outside looking in in terms of the Nov. 15 Big Ten Universities Championship match.
All three BTU matches from the weekend, including Iowa’s 29-25 win over Minnesota, can be viewed at D1A Rugby TV.